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|Ruben Armand Mardones|
November 9, 1946|
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
|Genres||Blue-eyed soul, soft rock|
|Labels||Polydor, Curb, Warrior|
Ruben Armand "Benny" Mardones (born November 9, 1946) is an American pop singer and songwriter who is best known for his hit single "Into the Night", which hit the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart twice, in 1980 (#11) and again in 1989 (#20).
Due to the success of "Into the Night," Curb Records signed Mardones and he recorded "Into the Night '89." The track appeared on his self-titled release (known as the "Blue Album" by his fans). Not long after that, Mardones appeared on a Showtime tribute to Roy Orbison, alongside such luminaries as Bob Dylan, John Fogerty, Johnny Cash and k.d. lang. Elvis Presley's band was the house band for the evening. When Mardones came on stage to sing "Running Scared," few people knew his name, but when he finished the song, he received a standing ovation.
Even though his lone hit charted twice, Mardones is still considered a "one-hit wonder." He continues to have a substantial fan following in Syracuse, New York, with his band, the Hurricanes. Several of his songs ("Into The Night" and several others) have remained since their original release in rotation on radio station 95X and several other rock music stations in the Central New York area.
Mardones began his career as a songwriter. He has written songs for people like Brenda Lee and Chubby Checker. He used to demo the songs he wrote and Tommy Mottola suggested that he record his own songs. Since that time he has written and recorded over 100 songs.
"Into the Night" is one of the few songs to have charted twice on Billboard, in 1980 and again in 1989. In 1989, KZZP, a radio station in Arizona, ran a segment titled "Where Are They Now?" The most popular question was "Whatever happened to the guy who sang 'Into the Night'?" Scott Shannon, then program director for Pirate Radio in Los Angeles, added "Into the Night" to its playlist. Radio stations across the country followed suit and "Into the Night" was once again a hit. Mardones was 33 years old when the song became a hit for the first time and he still lives quite well on the royalties.
Benny Mardones was born Ruben Armand Mardones on November 9, 1946, in Cleveland, Ohio. His father, Ruben Sr., was from Santiago, Chile. Benny only saw his father a few times in his life. His father left Benny and his sister, Louise, when Benny was a baby and eventually returned to Chile. In addition to Louise, Benny has two half-brothers and two half-sisters who live in Chile.
Benny grew up in Savage, Maryland, and graduated from Howard High School in Ellicott City, Maryland, in 1964. He joined the U.S. Navy after high school and served during the Vietnam War. He was briefly married when he was 21 years old, and again in the mid-1980s. After his discharge from the Navy he moved to New York City to pursue his singing and songwriting career. While living in New York, he composed several songs with writing partner Alan Miles. He later wrote songs with fellow singer-songwriter Bobby Tepper, including the legendary song "Into the Night."
The multi-platinum success of "Into the Night" in 1980 catapulted Benny into the limelight, and he soon spiraled into cocaine addiction and alcoholism. He stopped performing concerts and making public appearances and his label, Polydor Records, dropped him. Over the next few years, he lapsed into obscurity. The birth of his son Michael in April 1985 inspired Benny to get his life in order. The following month, he moved to Syracuse, New York, and by the end of the summer he had kicked his drug and alcohol habit. The renewed popularity of "Into the Night" in 1989 reignited his career, but he was never able to duplicate his earlier success, and never had another Billboard Top 100 hit.
Benny is the subject of a documentary titled Into The Night: The Benny Mardones Story that was set to be released on DVD in the fall of 2008. However, it has not been released, and no release date is scheduled.
Benny was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2000. Despite his illness, he continues to perform to sold-out audiences in central New York, where he retains a notable fan following. On December 16, 2017 Mardones performed "Into the Night" publicly for the last time at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY.
On October 4, 2011, he married his third wife, Jane Braemer, originally from Denmark. He and Jane reside in Playa del Rey, California.